Many foods we consume daily have hidden inflammatory properties that can wreak havoc on our bodies. Although inflammation isn’t always a bad thing, chronic inflammation could point to other problems happening in your body.
Inflammation happens when your immune attacks a site of your body that might have a potential threat. When this happens, white blood cells rush to the foreign agent and work to fight it, oftentimes protecting us from infection, illness and injury.
But sometimes, inflammation can contribute to chronic diseases. Are you curious about what kind of pro-inflammatory foods you’re putting into your body?
Read on for a few of the common household food items that could be doing more harm than good to your health.
If you know anything about health and nutrition, you’re well aware of all the negative effects sugar can have on your body.
Diets heavy in sugar have shown to raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation. Added sugar can also cause other health problems like weight gain and tooth decay.
When you consume sugar in excess, an increased number of inflammatory cytokines are secreted from immune cells and work to inflame various parts of the body. This inflammation, if constant, can lead to disease.
If your diet consists of lots of sugar, then the inflammation your body is experiencing could lead to glucose intolerance and metabolic disease.
Thinking of switching to artificial sweeteners? Think again.
Artificial sweeteners have virtually the same effects on the body as sugar does. Try all-natural sweeteners instead!
2. Vegetable and Seed Oils
You probably use some sort of vegetable oil to cook or bake with, but did you know these oils are also found in a wide variety of processed foods? You might be consuming more vegetable oils than you think.
Processed seed oils like sunflower and safflower oils also contain high levels of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Here are a few plant oils you might want to consider eliminating from your plate due to their high omega-6 contents:
- peanut oil
- corn oil
- cottonseed oil
- sesame oil
- rice bran oil
- soybean oil
Consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids could also lead to increased blood pressure, blood clots, and even heart attack or stroke.
Most commercial condiments contain lots of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavouring, emulsifiers and seed oils which are all components that lead to increased inflammation.
High-fructose corn syrup is a common ingredient found in mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and other condiments. It’s an artificial sugar made from corn, and experts say that diets with a lot of high-fructose corn syrup are linked to serious health problems.
Once consumed, high-fructose corn syrup kickstarts inflammation, increasing your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
Still need your condiment fix? You can find many alternatives at the grocery store or online, just make sure you see that the product doesn’t contain high-fructose corn syrup!
4. Soy Products
Soy, which is derived from soybeans, is a popular staple in vegetarian diets since it is often used as a meat substitution. However, what some people don’t know is that soy can contain harmful compounds that could lead to inflammation.
Soy products could even contain harmful compounds that have the potential to impair female fertility, thyroid function and even promote the growth of cancer cells. Soy products tend to be highly processed, and this processing can produce toxins that are harmful to your cells which leads to inflammation.
5. Processed Meat
Studies have shown that processed meat contains many harmful chemicals that are not found in fresh meat.
Processed meat is known to contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) than other meat. These AGEs occur when meats and other foods are cooked at high temperatures, and they can directly cause inflammation of the body.
Diets that include processed meat can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach and colon cancer.
Here are a few of the most commonly bought processed meats you might want to reconsider eating:
- hot dogs
- dried jerky
- cured bacon
- canned meat
Of course, there are fresher, healthier alternatives to these processed meats that you can buy and eat knowing that your body won’t suffer the inflammatory consequences.
6. Artificial Trans Fats
Artificial trans fats are among one of the most unhealthy things you can put into your body.
These harmful trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to liquid unsaturated fats to make them more solid. Lots of times, they’re added to processed food products to increase their shelf life.
Consuming artificial trans fats can lower good cholesterol and hinder the function of endothelial cells, which can increase your risk of heart disease.
High trans-fat diets have also shown to increase levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP).
Know Your Diet and Avoid Inflammatory Foods
The key to maintaining a healthy diet that works for you is knowing exactly what’s in your food. Now that you’re aware that some of these common foods have pro-inflammatory properties, you have a better idea of what you’re feeding your body.
If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our other posts about all things health and lifestyle!
Does Dairy cause inflammation?
There is a lot of confusion about the role of dairy in a healthy diet. Dairy products are a good source of calcium and help build and maintain bone density. Dairy is beneficial for the growth and development of infants and children. Dairy is not considered an inflammatory food for most of the population. But for people with a food sensitivity to dairy, or who are lactose intolerant, dairy can cause an inflammatory response. To see what eliminating dairy from your diet can do for you, experts recommend that you cut it out completely. Then, reintroduce dairy products slowly and see what kind of changes take place.